There are about as many things to do in Tokyo as there are people using Shibuya crossing during rushour, i.e. waaaay too many. If you just want a list, check out our mega list of 101 things to do in Tokyo.
Whether you’re here for a week, a month or a lifetime, realising you can’t ‘do it all’ can actually be quite the relief. Shrug off that pressure, focus on what you’re interested in and don’t forget to add a few wildcards to your bucket-list as you never know, leaving that comfort zone for a new neon-lit experience might just make your trip.
Anime and Gaming
Whether you’re into Cosplay or claw-games, we’ve got you covered when it comes to gaming and Anime in Tokyo. One of the biggest draws for visitors, anime and manga are whole world of their own, with characters, landmarks and cafes all dedicated to their carefully-crafted visions. If you’re looking to do some retro gaming or take a few souvenirs home for yourself, we have the low-down on where to go (it’s not just the famous Akihabara), plus a deep dive on why exactly it is we love games so much. For a more classic take on games, there’s a guide to boardgaming and the ultimate guide on what it takes to be a cosplayer at the biggest event in Tokyo: Comiket.
Check out our full guide to anime and gaming in Tokyo for more!
Art and Creativity
Tokyo’s art scene can take you from street graffiti to international exhibitions in minutes, with sculptures, installations and creative spaces galore. There are some traditional galleries to see like the MOMAT (the National Museum of Modern Art) and the National Museum of Western Art, as well as galleries dedicated to artists like Kusama and Hokusai, if you like to get specific.
If you’re after some fresh air, consider our street art round up or an architectural walking tour, not to mention stopping off to use the facilities…. Even those are architecturally designed works of art in Tokyo!Head to our full guide to art in Tokyo for all the arty details!
Culture and Tradition
You can’t step out of your front door without wandering into an example of Japan’s cultural heritage or traditional events. All that history can make them daunting spaces, but fear not, we have you covered. Whether it’s how to be respectful while exploring a shrine or temple or what to do when you brave a communal hot spring, we have the info.
This isn’t to say all cultural experiences are sombre and rule-bound, however, far from it. Tokyo’s many festivals can be raucous, fiery events (quite literally), and joining the crowds can be an unforgettable experience – check our events pages to see what’s on.Make your way to our full guide to culture and tradition in Tokyo to get the lowdown.
While it may seem better-suited to uptight salarymen, Tokyo is actually as family-friendly as they come. It turns out not being inundated with children means people like them more, and ‘dwarfs’ as Google translate so kindly calls them when converting Japanese text, are actually very well catered for. Take your pick from the many theme parks in and around the capital, with characters such as Hello Kitty, Totoro and Mickey making special appearances. Explore the playgrounds dreams are made of and consider popping in to some of the more enjoyable museums and galleries, from Ghibli to MIRAIKAN and beyond.Don’t miss our complete guide to family-friendly activities in Tokyo for more ideas.
Go-kartsOnce of the more wacky (and popular) tourist activities in Tokyo is to don your favourite super hero outfit and drive a go-kart around the streets of Tokyo. Prices vary from ¥7,200 to ¥18,000, and the cheaper go-kart providers are likely to be fully booked at least a month in advance. There’s a variety of providers offering different routes, including Shibuya / Shinjuku, Akihabara / Asakusa and Tokyo Bay. Also don’t forget – you’ll need an international driving permit and we drive on the left in Japan.
Movies and Shows
Catching a show is a great way to escape the heat or immerse yourself in a different world for a few hours. Enjoy the buttered popcorn of Japanese movie theatres and see how you feel about dbbed films… If you’d rather a real-life performance, then Kabuki theatre might be right up your street. A chance for the audience to get involved and get a bit messy, it’s not quite the reserved theatre experience you might have at home. For a show where players have a bit more at stake, Sumo is an unmissable option. With three tournaments a year in Tokyo, you can get ring-side seats perfect for cushion-throwing, or get up close to a practice session if the dates don’t align.Delve into our guide to movies and shows in Tokyo for the best entertainement ideas in town.
Museums and Exhibitions
Whether you’re keen to roam among carefully restored Meiji-era buildings or to learn about the history of the Japanese pot noodle, there’s a museum for you in Tokyo. Dedicated to all facets of life in Japan past and present, there are family-friendly options as well as some unsettling opportunities to learn, with a starter’s mega-guide and a weirder alternative guide too. Museums in Japan have plenty of free days throughout the year as well as the handy Grutto Pass, so don’t worry too much about the cost, just focus on the chance to identify parasites, explore a sewer, experience an earthquake and make your own noodles.Find out more with our guide to movies and shows in Tokyo for all the major, weird and niche museums.
Music and Nightlife
Keen to to scream the night away at an underground rock gig, dance at the city’s biggest clubs or work you way through the sake menu of a local izakaya? Tokyo’s night scene is a world of endless possibilities. To get you started we’ve got a guide to Japanese drinks so you know what to order, and an etiquette one so you know exactly how to order it. Choose from popular drinking alleys like Golden Gai or some quieter ones, and don’t foget to hit up the local live music scene too. If you’re feeling inspired, end your night on some good old karaoke – there are plenty of places to choose from!Check out our full guide to music and nightlife in Tokyo for all the best places to be.
Outdoors and Nature
Cities are great, but there’s nothing like a metropolis to make you crave a day in the mountains. Luckily, Tokyo is so big it even has one of those within its boundaries, not to mention nine islands that stretch the limits of even the most creative city boundaries. Needless to say, this means you can get exploring, with wonderful hikes for all levels including the world-famous challenge of Mt. Fuji, as well as some fantastic camping spots that aren’t too far away.
Of course seasons are a game-changer in Japan, and the capital is no different, so keep in mind the best day trips for blossom in spring, cool escapes in summer, stunning leaves in autumn and hot springs in winter. If you’re staying in the city, there are some great parks and gardens as well as these inner-city nature havens that take you away from the busy streets in a just few steps.Don’t miss our full guide to finding nature and exploring the outdoors in Tokyo.
Whether you dream of sinking into steaming baths while overlooking snowy mountains, or want to relax in a rooftop beer garden on a summer evening, each season brings out a new side to Tokyo. There are the classic activities of cherry-blossom viewing and autumn-leaf admiring, but there are also some more unusual options like summer firefly and fireworks festivals or the dramatic winter fire festivals. Stroll through impressive winter illuminations and make the most of the hot springs, with plenty in Tokyo for the tattooed and some great day trips to make the most of them.
Dive into our full guide to the best seasonal activities in Tokyo for a year’s worth of ideas.
Whether you consider yourself a tourist or a traveller, seeing the sights in Tokyo can seem like a mammoth task. While wandering off the beaten track is most people’s goals, there are some mainstream sites that just can’t be missed, and some that you might not know about. Getting yourself oriented with a view of the city is a great place to start, while on-the-ground walking tours are a brilliant option for finding your feet.
You want to see the oldest temples, the Kyoto-esque corners and the historical streets that are home to quiet sake bars, right? What about the classic sumo wrestling, fish markets and tracking down the most elusive and unusual of Tokyo’s many vending machines? We’ve got you covered. We have itineraries for the day to a traveler’s fortnight, with options for foodies, wanderers and those making the most of business trips too!
Get stuck into our complete guide to sightseeing in the city for tips, tricks and inspiration.
Japan is becoming a popular destination for winter sports, and whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, there’s powder for everyone. Japan’s main island of Honshu has great ski resorts in easy reach of the capital, with some offering the chance to ski down the slopes of Mt. Fuji! Alternatively, you can head up to Hokkaido and make the most of the cold weather in Niseko’s many resorts – they’re easy to get to from Tokyo too.
Wherever it is you go, you’ll want to check our guides on where to get winter sports gear and maybe try out some second-hand shops while you’re at it. Don’t forget to make sure your insurance covers skiing – it’s not exciting, but neither are sky-high medical bills!
Ski straight to our ultimate guide to snowsports in and around Tokyo for the best powder tips going.
Keeping up old habits while you travel can be tricky at the best of times, but don’t let that stop your sporty ways. Try jogging around the imperial palace or other great sites, and why not have a go at one of the cities’ many climbing walls? There are gyms, tennis courts and even some great bowling spots to make the most of (if you consider bowling a sport, that is).
We’re big fans of pedal power here at TC, so why not explore the city by bike? You can also head a little further afield and explore Saitama or Gunma with their dedicated cycling options. If you’re more of an observer, give sumo a good watch or set your eyes on some baseball for an afternoon for that American-Japanese activity, and try it out at one of the many sports halls in the city.
Don’t miss our full guide to sports in Tokyo to get you motivated
Themeparks and Zoos
Whether you’re looking to lose yourself in the new Studio Ghibli world, find magic at the Harry Potter Tour or go fo the thrills at Fuji Q, we’ve got it all. You can save some yen when you visit Tokyo Disney Sea and Land as well as considering some of the more unusual options (a veritable sea of Sanrio characters, anyone?) and hair-raising haunted houses. There truly is a park for everyone in Tokyo, and if not, you can be in Osaka’s Universal Studios for a Nintendo themed-day in no time.
If you prefer animals, take your pick from the many zoos and aquariums in the capital and consider the pet-friendly alternatives to animal cafes whilst you’re there.
Visit our guide to the best Themeparks and Zoos in Tokyo for all the best options, alternatives and money-saving tips!